Fewer in U.S. sign home contracts
WASHINGTON — Fewer Americans signed contracts to buy U.S. homes in July, but the level stayed close to a 6 1/2 -year high. The modest decline suggests higher mortgage rates have yet to sharply slow sales. The National Association of Realtors says its seasonally adjusted index for pending home sales declined 1.3 percent to 109.5. That’s close to May’s reading of 111.3, which was the highest since December 2006. The small decline suggests sales of previously owned homes should remain healthy in the coming months.